Tagged in: Warriors

Milwaukee Bucks stomp Golden State Warriors, keep ‘building good habits’ vs. elite teams

The Milwaukee Bucks delivered another statement victory Thursday night with a 118-99 thumping of the Golden State Warriors, continuing their trend of being at their best this season when matched up versus other likely title contenders.

The Bucks blitzed the Warriors from the start, jumping out to a 39-point halftime lead, Golden State’s largest halftime deficit since the franchise moved from Philadelphia.

In the past week, the Bucks have won handily against the Warriors and Brooklyn Nets — whom they also beat on opening night in Milwaukee — a pair of teams they could see on the path to attempt to repeat as NBA champions.

“I don’t know why we play well in big games, but at the end of the day we’ve got to just keep building good habits moving forward,” said Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who finished with 30 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in 30 minutes.

“Big games with big excitement or even games nobody watches, nobody cares about, we have to keep building good habits, so we can be good in May and June.”

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Milwaukee had coach Mike Budenholzer back on the sideline after clearing health and safety protocols but was playing without guard Jrue Holiday, its best perimeter defender, who missed his fourth consecutive game with an ankle. Still, the Bucks were able to contain Warriors star Stephen Curry with a smothering defensive effort.

Curry was 4-of-11 shooting in the game (2 for 6 from 3) for 12 points. He has shot less than 50% from the field in eight consecutive games, the longest streak of his career, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Golden State finished 3-for-14 from the field with three turnovers and seven points when the Bucks sent a double team at Curry.

“Milwaukee is a good team. They obviously have championship DNA now,” Curry said, “and present some challenges in terms of putting pressure on the interior end and spacing. We just got off to a terrible start where everything went wrong.”

The Warriors have dropped four of their past five games overall and Curry is mired in one of the worst shooting slumps of his career, but they were not panicking about their recent skid.

“To be honest, I’m not that concerned,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr stated after the game. “I know we just got our butts kicked. We’re just in a rough patch in our season. Happens to every team, every year pretty much, with very few exceptions. We’re in a little bit of a rut. We played a team that was ready and played great … And so we’re a little out of sorts, and we just got to get back on track.”

Golden State will play the Bulls in the second half of a back-to-back on Friday night in Chicago. Klay Thompson, who scored 11 points on 3 of 11 shooting in 21 minutes, is not expected to play as the Warriors ease him back into action after missing more than two years because of injuries.

The Bucks, meanwhile, have continued to roll against some of the stiffest competition in the league because of dominant performances by Antetokounmpo.

On Thursday, Antetokounmpo finished a perfect 9-for-9 inside the restricted area with four dunks. He scored on four different primary defenders, (including 4-for-4 against Andre Iguodala) and hit all seven of his wide-open shots.

Even when the Warriors forced him into a pass, he routinely made the right read — the Bucks shot 11 of 16 (30 points) off Antetokounmpo’s passes, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information.

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Curry, Warriors beat Kings 113-98 in short-handed showdown

Draymond Green and the Golden State Warriors gave his son an early 5th birthday gift by permitting the boy to help on the sidelines running towels, shooting shirts and masks to Warriors players along their bench.

And dad delivered his first triple-double of the season to boot.

Green notched his franchise-leading 31st career triple-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists with Draymond Jr. an equally big star as Golden State held off the Sacramento Kings 113-98 on Monday night in a matchup of short-handed rivals due to COVID protocols.

“You like that?” Green shared of his postgame chat with young Draymond Jr., or “DJ.”

“It was fun, Daddy,” the boy answered before his father made clear, “We can’t do it all the time, we can do it sometimes.”

Green was thrilled with the opportunity for his son, who he praised for being “well-behaved” and doing just enough while staying out of the way.

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The Vikings’ final three matches are at home versus the Los Angeles Rams and at NFC North champion Green Bay before they host Chicago in the finale. The result in this one was hardly a surprise given the state of the Bears (4-10).

Chicago lost for the eighth time in nine games, and with 14 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, that seemed inevitable. Receiver Allen Robinson was on it, as was the starting secondary.

The health issues also hit the coaching staff, with all three coordinators testing positive for the coronavirus during the week.

Defensive coordinator Sean Desai was cleared to return hours before kickoff. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor was not cleared, so Nagy called plays. And special teams coordinator Chris Tabor was out.

Cousins, who struggled last week, didn’t exactly dominate in this one. He was 12 of 24 for 87 yards with an interception and got sacked four times. The two-time Pro Bowler also connected with Justin Jefferson for a 12-yard touchdown in the first quarter and threw a 7-yarder to Ihmir Smith-Marsette in the third.

Dalvin Cook ran for 89 yards, after going for 205 versus Pittsburgh in a sooner-than-expected return from a dislocated shoulder.

D.J. Wonnum had a career-high three sacks and the Vikings recovered three fumbles on the way to their second straight win after back-to-back losses.

“It’s not just playing better, it’s getting better,” Zimmer said. “It’s getting better in the run defense, getting better in the pass coverage, it’s getting better in protection. It’s getting better in running the ball. It’s all those things. We’re trying to get better so we can get to that spot where we’ve got to get to.”

For the Bears and their fans, it was another frustrating outing.

Fields threw for 285 yards and ran for 35 in his second game back after missing two with broken ribs. The rookie completed 26 of 39 passes playing behind a line missing both starting tackles, with right tackle Larry Borom on the COVID list and left tackle Jason Peters out with an ankle injury.

Robert Quinn and Akiem Hicks each had two sacks. Quinn has 16 this year, leaving him just shy of Hall of Famer Richard Dent’s franchise record of 17 1/2 in 1984. But Chicago committed nine penalties for 91 yards in a sloppy performance that had fans again booing at times and making their feelings about coach Matt Nagy known, chanting “Fire Nagy!”

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Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry scores 41, puts on show in preseason finale

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry looks primed for another run at the third MVP award of his career.

The 33-year-old guard scored 41 points during Friday’s 119-97 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, the final preseason match before Tuesday’s regular-season opener versus the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.

“He’s been building up perfectly from before camp started to all of the training over the summer to now,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game. “Obviously missed the game in L.A. the other night, that was part of the plan, he didn’t need to play all five games, but the last few days he got a lot of individual work in and he’s clearly ready to roll for the regular season, so he’s in a great place.”

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The 41 points are tied for the third-most in a preseason game over the past 15 years.

It’s also Curry’s third career 40-point game in the preseason, the most by any player over the past 15 years, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The performance also capped a 5-0 preseason record for a Warriors group that is no longer surprised when it sees Curry go off offensively the way he did Friday — even in a preseason game that has little meaning.

“The guy’s a machine,” Kerr said. “It’s just amazing how he looks after himself physically, emotionally, he’s just an incredible athlete at the peak of his powers still at 33. He’s just remarkable to observe, and obviously we’re lucky to have him leading the way for us.”

Chants of “MVP! MVP!” echoed through Chase Center as fans embraced the type of Curry performance that has become commonplace through his time with the organization. Curry went 13-for-23 from the field and 7-for-14 from the 3-point line in 30 minutes.

“It’s always fun to watch when Steph puts on a show like that,” Warriors center Kevon Looney said. “We see it a lot, and it’s getting close to the real games so you see him turn it up. Our team played pretty well, so [it’s] exciting to get to opening night.”

The Warriors announced after the game that they have waived Gary Payton II, Jordan Bell, Avery Bradley and Mychal Mulder. Kerr stated that, for the time being, the Warriors would leave the 15th spot on the roster open.

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Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors thrilled to have ‘the old Klay’ Thompson back at official practice

Golden State Warriors swingman Klay Thompson is starting to look more like his old basketball self amid his rehabilitation from a torn right Achilles injury.

Participating in his first official team practice since suffering the injury in an offseason workout Nov. 18, 2020, Thompson knocked down shots from all over the court, much to the delight of his teammates and coaches.

“Klay looked great,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr stated after his team’s first practice Tuesday. “Shooting the lights out. His team won the daily shooting competition. And he was smiling, laughing, joking around, it was really fun to see the old Klay back.”

Thompson, who hasn’t played in an NBA game since June 13, 2019, after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors, has been bouncing around the team’s facility in good spirits in recent days as he looks forward to the opportunity to play competitively again.

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“Everyone’s excited that Klay is out on the floor,” Kerr said. “He basically did every single thing in practice today. We didn’t scrimmage, we didn’t have any live contact, but Klay is just so happy to be playing and we’re all so happy to see him part of it. So just a really good first day, first couple of days, and good energy as we start to get rolling.”

While Thompson’s return is still several months away, Kerr acknowledged that the former All-Star’s presence in practice has given the rest of his group an emotional boost.

“Part of it is his spirit, his energy, his joy,” Kerr said. “A big part of it too is, ‘Yeah, we got Klay.’ The confidence level as a group — we’re getting Klay back. It makes us all feel better. And that’s the sense that I have from our guys.”

While the Warriors are hesitant to put a specific return date on Thompson’s comeback as he continues rehabbing, general manager Bob Myers said during Monday’s media day that the organization’s hope is that some time, likely in December or January, Thompson comes to the coaches and front office and says he’s ready to play again — in consultation with the team’s medical staff.

Thompson noted on Monday that “I’m probably like 75 or 80 percentile of what I need to do,” as far as rehab goes. Either way, the Warriors are glad that Thompson is inching closer to a return — and they can see that the extended rehab process from two career-altering injuries has made the 31-year-old embrace the game, and the world around him, even more.

“I think his time away brought him a lot of suffering,” Kerr said. “Because the thing he likes best was taken away from him. It’s the first time that’s ever happened. And so, while he was away he had to go through some struggles that probably illuminated some of the struggles that other people have every day.

So it’s a pretty natural time to be sort of growing at that age, and emotionally expanding. And none of that surprises me given what we’ve known about Klay over the years. “He’s a deeply compassionate, aware person. He just doesn’t always show it to the world.”

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Detroit Pistons, Blake Griffin agree to contract buyout

Six-time NBA All-Star Blake Griffin has agreed to a contract buyout with the Detroit Pistons and will become an unrestricted free agent, the team revealed Friday.

The Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers are expected to be among the teams Griffin will be considering for his next stop, sources tell ESPN.

Griffin, 31, is expected to make a decision on his next team after conversations with prospective teams, sources said.

“Blake has been a great representative for our franchise and for the city of Detroit,” owner Tom Gores said in a statement Friday. “His work ethic and his approach to the game contributed a lot to our culture. He has been a consummate pro and we wish him continued success.

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“I’m grateful for everything he did for our team and for our community.”

Finding a trade for Griffin — who was owed a remaining $36.6 million this campaign and $39 million in 2021-22 prior to the buyout — was an insurmountable challenge for the Pistons.

Detroit concluded a reduction in his remaining salary to gain free agency with Griffin’s agent, Sam Goldfeder of Excel Sports, since the sides mutually agreed he would leave the active roster on Feb. 15 awaiting a trade or buyout.

“I thank the Pistons organization for working together on an outcome that benefits all involved and I wish the franchise success in the future,” Griffin said in a statement released by the team.

Detroit has entered a full-fledged rebuild under first-year general manager Troy Weaver, and the chance to play the franchise’s younger players has taken precedence for the Pistons.

Injuries have dramatically altered Griffin’s game, eliminating the high-flying rim attacks that marked his All-Star career. He’s averaging 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists for Detroit this season.

Griffin was traded less than a season into a five-year, $171 million max deal with the LA Clippers, arriving in Detroit in late January 2018.

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Warriors vs Thunders

Warriors vs Thunders

The Golden State Warriors, after staving off elimination with a furious fourth-quarter rally on Saturday night, hold the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals on Monday, May 30, 2016, at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.

The Thunder, which once led 3-1 in the series, must win at Oracle, where the Warriors have lost only three games this season.

The Game 7 winner advances to the NBA Finals to meet the LeBron James and  the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are the Eastern Conference champions.

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The Oklahoma City Thunder advance to their second NBA Finals with a road victory here. The Oklahoma City Thunder are averaging 107.5 points on 45.7 percent shooting and allowing 101.4 points on 44.7 percent shooting. Kevin Durant is averaging 28.5 points and 7.1 rebounds while Russell Westbrook is averaging 26.4 points and 10.9 assists. Serge Ibaka is grabbing 6.4 rebounds and Dion Waiters is dishing 2.4 assists. The Oklahoma City Thunder are shooting 33.7 percent from beyond the arc and 78.7 percent from the free throw line. The Thunder are allowing 36.3 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 46.9 rebounds per game. The Oklahoma City Thunder are 5-3 on the road this postseason.

The Golden State Warriors can advance to a second straight NBA Finals with a victory here. The Golden State Warriors are averaging 111.9 points on 46.6 percent shooting and allowing 105.6 points on 42 percent shooting. Klay Thompson is averaging 26.5 points and 3.9 rebounds while Stephen Curry is averaging 25.6 points and 5.9 assists. Draymond Green is grabbing 9.8 rebounds and Shaun Livingston is dishing 3.7 assists. The Golden State Warriors are shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc and 73.6 percent from the free throw line. The Warriors are allowing 34.7 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 44.4 rebounds per game. The Golden State Warriors are 8-1 at home this postseason.

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Last Games Series recap

Game 4: The Warriors suffered another blowout loss, 118-94 as the Thunder took a 3-1 series lead. Two of the Warriors’ biggest stars — Curry and Green — played poorly when the team needed them most if Golden State had hopes of regaining home-court advantage. Curry scored 19 points on 6-for-20 shooting, including 2 of 10 from 3-point range. Green had six points and was 1 of 7 from the field. Both players had six turnovers apiece. Westbrook had 36 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists and Durant scored 26.

Game 5: Andrew Bogut played perhaps his best game as a Warrior, scoring 15 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and blocking two shots in a 120-111 victory that kept Golden State’s hopes alive. Curry had a bounce-back game with 31 points and five steals and Green looked more like himself, especially at the defensive end with 13 rebounds and four blocks. Durant scored 40 but was only 12 for 31 from the field. Westbrook scored 31 but was 11 for 28.

Game 6: Klay Thompson set an NBA playoff record with 11 3-pointers on his way to a career playoff high of 41 points as the Warriors evened the series with a 108-101 victory at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Curry, who didn’t score until 7:20 remained in the second quarter, finished with 31 points and made a couple of big plays down the stretch, including a 3-pointer with 2:47 remaining that tied the score at 99-99. Durant scored 29 and Westbrook 28 for the Thunder.

 

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